Innovation in the vineyard: Veneto Agriculture's experimental tests for the reduction of pesticides and for mountain areas, which could represent an interesting opportunity for the sector. The experimental vineyards.

After all, the numbers speak for themselves: despite the fact that today the phytosanitary fight is conducted with strategies that pay ever greater attention to the environment, at the level of the European Union, viticulture, while occupying only 3.3% of the agricultural area, it uses about 65% of all the fungicides used in agriculture to protect the vine from the main fungal pathogens, as the widespread varieties of Vitis Vinifera are sensitive to a large number of diseases.

It is for this reason that for some years in Veneto, in order to pursue a regional wine policy capable of reducing the impact of pesticides in the vineyard, in particular in some complex local situations, a strategy focused on the use of vine varieties "resistant" to the main diseases.

These are varieties derived from natural crossbreeding programs with other vines that are resistant to the main diseases, starting with downy mildew and powdery mildew , which alone require at least 3-4 treatments a year.

Currently there are about 370 “resistant” varieties , obtained in 25 countries, including Italy, and registered for cultivation. These are selections that have completely typical characteristics of Vitis Vinifera.

As part of this wide range of “resistant” varieties, the Veneto Region has promoted a series of projects in recent years, which have led to the authorization of 20 types of “resistant” vines , with a fair amount of interest among producers. Specifically, Veneto Agriculture conducted evaluation tests on two experimental vineyards located in the Lison-Pramaggiore area (Ve) and in the Municipality of Seren del Grappa (Bl) , consisting of the main varieties admitted to cultivation in the region. Furthermore, during 2020, the experimental activity in the vineyard carried out by the regional agency was enriched with further projects. For example, with the PIWI Veneto Association , a non-profit organization of Borgo Valbelluna-Mel (Bl), one of the largest producers of “resistant” varieties in the Veneto. In particular, the spotlight is on an experimental vineyard made up of the latest “resistant” black grape vines that can overlap the Pinot Nero variety as phenological periods and enological characteristics. The new vineyard is characterized by medium-early bud break and early ripening that seem to adapt well to the climatology of the mountain area , subject to possible late frosts and abundant late summer and autumn rainfall.